Vouchers and cash transfers

Picture credit: WHO/TDR/Andy Crump

Prospective users of health services in many countries face financial costs for transport and treatment and opportunity costs of receiving care, and such costs are well-documented barriers for the uptake of healthcare services. “Demand-side” financing in the health sector – such as voucher and cash transfers – was introduced to promote health by offsetting some associated financial costs or by increasing household income or providing financial incentives to increase healthy behaviours.

We have examined the design and effects of these policy initiatives to determine their role in creating and promoting healthcare markets, and the implications for equity. This research has been funded by AusAID and the World Health Organization Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health, and includes articles on the implementation of vouchers and cash transfers, and reviewing their effects. Together with Jasmine Gideon (Birkbeck), we published a critique and framework for gender analysis in the study of vouchers and public-private partnerships more widely (see blog here).


Hunter BM, Bisht R and SF Murray. 2020. Neoliberalisation enacted through development aid: the case of health vouchers in India. Critical Public Health, DOI: 10.1080/09581596.2020.1770695

Hunter BM. 2018. Brokerage in commercialised healthcare systems: a conceptual framework and empirical evidence from Uttar Pradesh. Social Science & Medicine, 202:128-135. [Open access version available here]

Hunter BM. 2018. “Global actors, their priorities and local ‘partnerships’: a case study of USAID’s Sambhav scheme in Uttar Pradesh, India”, in: Kapilashrami A and Baru R (eds.) Global Health Governance and Commercialisation in India. Abingdon: Routledge

Hunter BM and SF Murray (2017) Demand-side financing for maternal and newborn health: what do we know about factors that affect implementation of cash transfers and voucher programmes? BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 17:262

Gideon J, Hunter BM, and SF Murray (2017) Public-private partnerships in sexual and reproductive healthcare provision: establishing a gender analysis. Journal of International and Contemporary Social Policy, 33(2):166-180

Hunter, BM, Harrison, S, Portela, A, and D Bick (2017) The effects of cash transfers and vouchers on the use and quality of maternity care services: A systematic review. PLoS ONE 12(3): e0173068